I can remember the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, but the memories are vague. It’s perhaps harsh, but it seems that every few months there’s yet another senseless mass shooting in America. Of course, these shootings were different – no apparent motive, without obvious culrpits, the sense of all-pervading fear they must have created is chillingly easy to understand.
Blue Caprice dramatizes the Beltway attacks, but isn’t interested in creating a thriller, nor creating that sense of fear. The murders occur off-camera, and the focus is on the murderers themselves. Isaiah Washington plays a father estranged from his children; his lean athletic form and commanding presence barely disguise a dark propensity for violence. Equally impressive is Tequan Richmond as a quiet young boy who falls under Washington’s spell; he speaks rarely, demonstrating an unsettling disconnect in social situations.
The film watches these men from a distance as though through a telescopic scope; it refuses to venture too close, which is perhaps for the best. Blue Caprice may not capture the panic associated with these shootings, but it captures the essence of such men; men who could enact such terror with discomfiting plausibility. The events no longer seem like “just another shooting.”